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PAC.NZ reports increased landfill diversion rate

By Joe Whitworth , 21-Dec-2012
Last updated the 21-Dec-2012 at 10:08 GMT

The Packaging Council of New Zealand (PAC.NZ) has reported a 93% diversion rate of packaging waste from landfill in only the schemes second year.

It also highlighted 89% have put packaging re-use systems in place and 83% use packaging with recycled content.

The group will also will be applying next year to have the scheme accredited by the Government under the Waste Minimisation Act.

The recycling rate in New Zealand for paper and packaging is 56% and in line with the international market, about 60% of packaging consumed is food and beverage packaging, they said.

Group focus

Paul Curtis, executive director of the Packaging Council of New Zealand, told FoodProductionDaily.com a part of the groups focus is the 10% of drinks containers that are consumed while people are in public places such as parks.

The New Zealand Government has made it clear that while they support our Packaging Product Stewardship Scheme, the Government is committed to improving ‘away from home’ recycling and expects industry to be involved.

“Failure by business to develop such a programme could motivate the Government to use its powers under the Waste Minimisation Act to develop a Government designed programme and make industry involvement compulsory.”  

The Packaging Product Stewardship Scheme includes nine food and beverage brand-owners and retailers, such as Tetra Pak, Sealed Air, O-I New Zealand and Coca-Cola Amatil, out of 22 members.

We know companies not signed up to the scheme are actively diverting at least some of their packaging waste from landfill.  However, the perception of the consumer and the Government will be that they're not and by gaining accreditation and getting more of these organisations participating in the scheme we're working on changing that perception.”

When asked which packaging is doing well and which needs investment, he added: “The recycling rate for plastics packaging appears low because it is an aggregated figure for all plastic resin types. 

“PET and HDPE are collected by most local councils, so the recycling rate will be high, but there is currently no post-consumer collection service for laminated plastics or flexible plastics, e.g. LDPE, and is an area which requires investment.”

Improvement areas

They outlined a number of areas for improvement such as internal targets, more scheme members adopting the code of practice from the group and taking action in the community.

“Whilst scheme members can already demonstrate an impressive rate of packaging waste diversion, a future focus will be for more scheme members to have internal targets in place.

“More scheme members adopting the principles of the code of practice will lead to less packaging waste overall,” the report said.

“Packaging recycling rates can be further improved by more scheme members identifying the packaging material type on pack and by providing enough information to consumers / customers to help them make informed decisions.”

PAC.NZ’s Packaging Product Stewardship Scheme is a voluntary industry initiative which aims to reduce the environmental impact of packaging in New Zealand.